These players performed best during the 2020 Major season
The truncated 2020 Major season concluded Sunday with three different champions in the three contested events. Which of those champions outshone the others during this Major season?
Or did a non-champion perform consistently enough over the course of the three events to lay claim to the season-long honor?
To refresh your memory, the Major event winners were Collin Morikawa at the PGA Championship in August at Harding Park, Bryson DeChambeau in the U.S. Open at Winged Foot in September, and Dustin Johnson this week at the Masters.
DeChambeau and Johnson both spreadeagled their fields, winning by six and five strokes respectively.
But you can’t claim the championship of an entire Major season by excelling only once. It takes consistency. That quality was often lacking among the game’s best this season.
A total of 44 players met the first threshold for consideration in 2020, that threshold requiring them to have teed it up in all three Major championships. For purposes of determining the season’s 10 most exceptional, they are ranked based on the average standard deviation of their score in those three events.
In theory, then, it’s possible for a player who did not win any of the three – but who performed consistently well in all three – to merit being ranked ahead of one or more of the champions.
That occurred as recently as 2017. The four Major champions that year were Sergio Garcia in the Masters, Brooks Koepka in the U.S. Open, Jordan Spieth in the British Open, and Justin Thomas in the PGA.
But none of those four performed consistently enough across the full Major season to outrank Matt Kuchar. He tied for fourth at the Masters, for 16th at the U.S. Open, finished second at the British Open and tied for 10th at the PGA. His average -1.38 standard deviation in those four events beat out Koepka’s -1.24.
Koepka rose to No. 1 in 2018 with an average score of -1.69, and retained that honor in 2019 when his four top five finishes – including a win at the PGA – translated to an average score of -2.10.
Here are the top 10 Major performers for 2020. Their average dominance rating is included. Keep in mind that since golf is a game where less is more, lower dominance ratings are preferable to higher ones.
One name you won’t find on this list, by the way, is PGA champion Morikawa. He followed that win by missing the cut at the U.S. Open, and was t44 at the Masters. Among the 44 players who were considered, that left Morikawa back in 20th position.